By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Community Council unanimously adopted a motion at its April 22 meeting opposing the use of beaches, beach parking lots and parks for homeless housing in response to Councilmember Mike Bonin’s proposal that city officials evaluate and identify funding for supportive housing sites across West Los Angeles, including the Palisades.
Bonin submitted a motion on Wednesday, March 31, requesting city officials look into the use of the county-owned parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach, located at 17000 CA-1, as a temporary site for single-occupancy tiny homes or safe camping to shelter people experiencing homelessness.
PPCC discussed the motion at length at its Thursday, April 22, meeting, which was attended by more than 100 participants.
Temporary Field Deputy for Council District 11 Len Nguyen addressed attendees during the meeting and reported that while the councilmember has heard significant opposition to the motion, “homelessness is the biggest crisis the city has faced in generations” and that emergency measures are necessary.
Nguyen said when the city announced the tentative use of Palisades Recreation Center as a designated emergency homeless shelter in 2020, feedback at the time suggested the use of the beach parking lot instead.
“The councilmember understands that no location is ideal, and he’s happy to work [and] consider alternatives to Will Rogers parking lot,” he said.
PPCC Chair David Card provided an overview of a four-page proposed position statement at the Executive Committee’s request, emphasizing the importance of preserving public access to the beach as a public resource, safety and health hazards that Bonin’s motion proposes—including the risk of fires, safety and adverse impacts on children—insufficient enforcement, and more.
Board and audience members voiced opposition to the motion: Public comments drew attention to the fact that Will Rogers State Beach is one of the local beaches the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Junior Lifeguard Program serves.
“The beach is to Los Angeles just as Central Park is to New York City,” Card said. “The PPCC strongly opposes the use of public beaches, parks and any open space dedicated for public recreational use in the city and/ or county of Los Angeles … including county-operated parking lots at Will Rogers State Beach.”
The committee submitted the position statement as a motion to be adopted by the board, which unanimously voted to approve the position statement.
The PPCC Executive Committee shared the position statement in a letter to officials—including Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA City Council President Nury Martinez and Bonin—on Friday, April 23, urging that the Will Rogers State Beach and Dockweiler Beach parking lots, unless approved by clear public consensus, be removed as locations proposed for homeless housing.
The committee also shared the position statement with the U.S. District Court in response to the federal homeless lawsuit, LA Alliance for Human Rights v. City of Los Angeles, et al.
Judge David O. Carter issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday, April 20, ordering local governments to develop a report within 30 days that identifies available land in their district.
“We agree that housing and services for the homeless are urgently needed in Los Angeles … however, the proposal to use the beach parking lots would have the opposite effect of what your Honor seeks to accomplish, as expressed in the April 20 ruling,” the letter states.
On Monday, April 26, PPCC sent letters to LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and California State Senator Ben Allen requesting they make their position on the matter public.
Community members await the next step for Bonin’s proposal, which is a hearing in the Homelessness and Poverty Committee—the timing of which is determined by that committee’s chair.